The Power of a Thank You

Morgan Schneeberger 08.24.09

A friend recently told me a story that resonated with me.  She and her husband inherited a bit of family money and immediately knew they wanted to donate it to a favorite local cause. They took some time to meet with the Executive Director, talked over ideas regarding the use of the money, and left feeling great about their decision to give.

One month passed, and then another. By the third month they couldn’t believe they didn’t receive a thank you, not to mention a receipt for their donation.

As you can imagine, this left a sour taste in their mouth. This was the largest donation they had ever made and they couldn’t believe the lack of follow up on the nonprofit’s behalf.

The interesting thing about this story is that this couple ended up getting a bit more family money than they expected and because of the experience they had with the first nonprofit, decided to give the extra amount to a different organization that they had previously had interactions with and knew they would be genuinely thanked.

For me, this story isn’t just about thanking your donors for donating their money or time with you, although that is extremely important. It’s about what it says to a donor when you don’t take that action. My friends are concerned that if the organization can’t take the time to thank and receipt them, are they going to take the time to appropriately use those funds?  We all hope the answer is yes, and most likely it is, but it sure does feel better when you get that immediate follow up and can track the effectiveness of an nonprofit organization.


Best practices for donor acknowledgement:

  • Immediately confirm a donor’s online gift through a detailed thank you page.
  • Generate an immediate thank you email for donors.
  • Mail an acknowledgement of the gift within two business days.


Technology can help you easily accomplish a quick and seamless process to thank, receipt, and ultimately cultivate a donor online.  Let me show you…



I gave a donation to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society this morning…


and immediately received a donation confirmation screen…


and a thank you email within two minutes of making that donation.



Talk about efficiency!


How are you acknowledging your donors online or offline? Leave a comment and let us know! 


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